And so, 2018, we come to a close. Whether New Year’s Eve’s an occasion to get out and party downtown with your sweetheart, friends or the kids, go for a relaxing dinner or just head to bed with a new book, for many it’s a time for reflection.
How would you describe your feelings about 2018?
Here at the DVBA, it’s been fantastic and very productive. Let’s check in with Jeff Bray, our Executive Director, and see what his thoughts are…
Pausing for a moment, Jeff smiles, “Amazed, excited, encouraged and grateful. That’s how I feel about my first year with the DVBA, for so many reasons,” he glances out the window as a couple walk by, waving.
“I’m amazed by the small and mighty team here and how much they achieve on behalf of members. The Board is wonderful as well. I’m excited by the spirit and entrepreneurship of the retailers and restaurateurs, especially those who are new. They are so committed to creating great experiences for their customers. Their level of investment in downtown Victoria is not restricted to “my four walls” but it’s “my block”. The collaboration between businesses, even competing ones, is inspiring.”
“The diversity of new businesses is encouraging. It all adds to the vibrancy. The emergence of downtown Victoria as a residential neighborhood has also been part of downtown’s renaissance. The energy and vibe of downtown Victoria’s incredible now, you can’t quite put your finger on it.”
“I never considered that this position would involve community organisations. You would think that being with the business association that I would just be about business, but now I’m on the steering committee for the Coalition to End Homelessness, and Downtown Service Providers Committee and the policy committee at The Chamber. It’s great, but I didn’t see that coming.”
Jeff’s enthusiasm is infectious, “There are also pubs and the brewpubs and little neat little restaurants that I simply didn’t know existed. I used to go to the same three. Some I wouldn’t have thought were my scene – and they are my scene. It’s great talking to people about their lives, their families and their realities downtown.”
“We need to maintain a diverse retail commercial mix so more businesses survive the business cycle because they have a large enough catchment. We need to have housing and also housing for families. Families, in terms of business, are the best customers. They need everything.”
Next we chat 2019.
Do you have a word for how you’d like next year to unfold?
Jeff’s word for the DVBA is “Evolution.”
“Things are going well. We have all the pieces. But we need to become the expert on downtown and what makes a good downtown, whether we are talking to developers, the city or members. We need to evolve to that. The DVBA works closely with Destination Greater Victoria, the Chamber and the Harbour Authority. We must be on par with what we can contribute. We are all trying to achieve the same thing. A lot of great things are happening.”
There we go. Thanks Jeff, for your time and your thoughts. Now, what about you?
How did 2018 surprise you?
How would you love to be surprised in 2019?
Do you have a word for 2019?
Happy New Year. We wish you all the best.